Golden Globes marks Diamond anniversary

In Focus

The hottest ticket in L.A. has always been to attend the Golden Globes ceremony. For the 43rd consecutive year at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, the 2018 show will again take place in the International Ballroom, with a limited number of seats and an exclusive guest list.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) will be 75 years young in 2018 and we can expect a year-long celebration with special events. The HFPA’s importance to the motion picture industry is unequaled because of the tremendous growth of the international market, which now accounts for nearly 73 percent of the global box office.

The HFPA has some 90 members representing 55 countries with a combined readership of more than 250 million. They interview actors, directors, writers and producers, as well as reporting from film sets and festivals. Although the HFPA is known for the Golden Globes, what is not so well-known are its wide-ranging philanthropic activities. Over the past 30 years, the group has donated almost $30 million to a vast range of charities. Congratulations on your 75th anniversary, Golden Globes!

Virtual Wonders

When it comes to virtual reality, things change every day. It is such a nascent industry that new technology is constantly emerging. Up until recently, VR was the domain of gamers and teens. That is why there have been so many skeptics regarding this technology. But just when you thought VR did not have any major relevance to cinemas, along come some new announcements that just might make the skeptics think differently.

AMC Entertainment has invested $20 million in Dreamscape Immersive, a new technology described as a “virtual reality multiplex.” Instead of a variety of movies, Dreamscape Immersive will offer a variety of virtual reality experiences. The technology allows up to six people to enter a virtual reality environment at once, where they watch fully rendered avatars of one another. AMC CEO Adam Aron, said, "Their vision is to change what VR has been—away from just a heightened level of videogames and towards cinematic storytelling."

AMC plans to open up to six Dreamscape locations over the next 18 months, some inside their multiplexes and some as standalone locations nearby. Aron noted, "This isn't a replacement for movies. It's a complement."

Also joining this trend are D-BOX Technologies and Cineplex, who announced the installation of 10 D-BOX VR action seats and VR systems at the Cineplex Scotiabank Theater in Ottawa, Ontario. The attraction will open this fall with a family-friendly animated VR adventure called Raising a Rukus.

Also looking to expand into new entertainment experiences is Lionsgate, which intends to open its first indoor entertainment center in New York City in 2019. The studio is teaming up with Spain's Parques Reunidos, a global leisure-park operator, to launch Lionsgate Entertainment City at 11 Times Square. The planned attractions include a Hunger Games flying simulator (along with Peeta’s Bakery and the Capital Confectionery), a Divergent-themed obstacle course, and a John Wick shooting ride where fans fend off various enemies. The complex will also feature a “Mad Men”-themed dining experience, a 4D theatre, live shows and virtual reality entertainment.

The industry as we know it is in for big changes over the next decade. With windows shortening, premium VOD models, streaming and new media companies with megabucks, it's anyone's guess as to where it’s all headed.

Saluting Jack Ledwith

One of the truly nice guys in the business is throwing in the towel after 42 years in distribution and the last 21 with Universal Pictures International distribution. What a loss for Universal and what a loss for the industry!

Impeccably dressed and always with a cheerful smile on his face, Jack Ledwith treats everyone alike—respectfully and professionally. This editor has known Jack for more than three decades and never once during that time has he seen Jack lose his temper or get mad—that's so indicative of his personality.

Over his long career, Jack has helped bring more than 800 films to the screen. Before joining Universal, he held positions at Avco Embassy Pictures, Embassy Pictures, De Laurentiis Entertainment Group and Carolco Pictures. In 2012, he was honored with the CinemaCon Passepartout Award and in 2015 was named “International Distributor of the Year” at CineAsia.

All of his colleagues at UPI talk highly of his accomplishments and his integrity. UPI CEO Duncan Clark declared, "Since 1996, Jack has been an integral and valued member of our distribution family. His competitors think the world of him and his partners and exhibition will miss him just as much."

We wish Jack much happiness and good health in the coming years.

A Country in Turmoil

In the comedy Miss Congeniality, contestants in a beauty pageant are asked, "What is the one most important thing our society needs?" All of the contestants answer “world peace,” with the exception of Sandra Bullock, who urges "harsher punishment for parole violators!"

Yes, world peace would be nice, but it’s certainly not realistic. What is the world coming to? A few weeks ago, we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting ever in the United States in Las Vegas. Although these editorial pages are seldom ever used for political diatribe, this editor had to mention this terrible tragedy. This cowardly act resulted in 58 people killed by one sick individual.

These past few years have witnessed some of the most horrific acts of violence ever seen in the U.S., from Sandy Hook Elementary School to Tyrone, Missouri to Waco, Texas to Charleston, South Carolina, Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, San Bernardino in California, Orlando, Florida and now Las Vegas. When will these horrible and murderous acts stop?

The nation's first responders are true heroes and should be singled out for their courage and professionalism. Everyone at Film Journal International expresses condolences to those who lost a loved one, associate or friend in Las Vegas. Make sure you hold your loved ones close when you go home tonight.